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Archive for January, 2010

Pigs Are Flying

About three weeks ago I sent BB the following email:

Subject Line:  A Request

It is with great regret that I write this email.

After years of delay and indignant resignation, I simply can’t avoid it anymore.  I simply can’t ignore the facts or the toll the years have taken.  So despite my intense and deep-seated reservations, it is time to act.  It is time for me to wear make-up.

This pregnancy is really taking a toll on my skin.  In addition to feeling fat and like crap most days, I look washed out and so not cute.  So there’s no more space for denial or pseudo-political objections.  The time has come for me to enter the world of make-up.

But here’s the problem.  I don’t know a lick about make-up.  Seriously, not one single thing.  I think I know what I like and what I don’t like.  But I don’t know how to achieve what I like and avoid what I don’t like.  Also, I might have just lied; I might not know at all what I like and don’t like.

So here it comes; the big ask.  Will you help me figure this out?  I can’t promise it will be fun.  I can’t promise you will feel those warm and fuzzy feelings of achievement afterward.  I can’t promise that you won’t want to punch me in the face from time to time.  But I can promise a laugh or two.  Likely at my own expense.  Or – let’s be honest – the expense of innocent strangers.

So what do you think?

Much to my surprise, BB accepted the challenge and two weeks ago we were sitting at a Bobbie Brown counter in Nordstrom.

No, not this Bobby Brown:

Tho if you saw Whitney on Oprah talking about how Bobby decided to become an artiste and began painting – sorry, spray painting – pictures of eyes all over their bedroom, I could see how you might be confused by this.

I mean this Bobbi Brown:

Yes, this actually happened.  And yes, I allowed the gentleman working the counter to put make up on my face.

From foundation, powders, and concealers, to eye shadow and eyeliner, to mascara and eye brow enhancements, I hung in there like a champ.  I barely complained.  I mean, I was forced to ask a million questions.  That dude just assumed that I understood what he was doing and why it was important.  Which I didn’t.  But overall, I think I did well.  BB even said so.  And I liked what he did.  I think I even cracked the code on what a smoky eye actually is.

But then…

Turns out, I don’t care if it’s lipstick, lip gloss, or some other tinted lip thingy, I don’t like it.  I don’t like the way it feels.  I don’t like the way it looks.  I just don’t like it.  Luckily this came way at the end of our session, so I wasn’t a total freak.  I mean, I allowed that dude to paint every other part of my face.  But for my super dry and ashy lips?  I will take just balm, thanks.

BB advised me on what to buy with Bobbi Brown and what we should go to Target/Sephora to get.  I spent like a million dollars.  Then I spent another million at Sephora.  (Best Sephora purchase?  This Benefit lip exfoliate and silky balm.  Oh.  My.  G-d.  Fucking amazing.  BB, when you are right, you are right.)  Then another million at Target.  But I have all the stuff I need should I decide to implement make up into my routine.

And BB was incredible.  Don’t get me wrong.  She laughed at me.  A lot.  And she and the make up guy spent a lot of time discussing my ineptitude in front of me.  But she didn’t seem like she wanted to punch me even once.  True miracle.

More on my progress with this later.

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People

I was in a crazy bad mood yesterday.  Several things led to this, not the least of which is because of this prolonged sobriety, but here are the two leading non-alcohol related reasons:  1) I hate people, and 2) I hate people.

The first “I hate people” refers to the debacle that happened yesterday in our cafeteria.  After waiting way to long to get some lunch, I ordered a quesadilla at the grill station.  Okay, no one was in line ahead of me, and no one was in line behind me.  Should be quick, right?  Wrong.

So I snagged a slice of pizza, paid for it, and headed back to the grill station to eat my first lunch and wait for my second lunch.  By the time I got back to the grill station, pandemonium had set it.  A huge gaggle of people standing in the unofficial “already ordered” section, and a huge line of people waiting to order.  Whatever, I just waited.  These things usually work out.

Until they don’t.

So the first quesadillas start emerging and I move up toward the line.  None are chicken.  Fine.

Continue waiting.

Finally the chicken ones come out.  Do I get the first one?  Of course not.  Second one is ready, and I say “chicken” to indicate that I’m up.  A guy in the line who was with Chicken Lady said, “I was next.”  I was like, “I’ve been waiting a long time.  I was here before you guys.”  Chicken Lady says, “We were here before you.”  Yeah, good one.  I responded, “None of you were here when I ordered.”  A second lady with two ragamuffin kids who was completely blocking the enter grill station with her entourage chimes in with, “We were all here before you.”

My very pregnant and hungry self was losing any patience that slice of pizza bought me.  I explained, “I was here before there was a line.  Before you all got here I ordered, grabbed a slice of pizza, paid for it, ate it, and continued to wait BEHIND you for my order.”

At this point, Chicken Lady walked away, but her buddy was unmoved.  “We’ve been waiting here for 15 minutes.”

Done with these people, tired of the ragamuffin kids staring at me, and steam literally pouring out my ears, I said, as rudely and sarcastically as I could, which if you know me, you know was a lot, “Fine, take it.”  I’m sure there was a hand gesture in there as well.  Then I turned to the guy behind the counter and said, “I knew I should have just eaten pizza.”

Outraged but with the quesadilla in hand, I continued to yell about the incident to my colleague who was in the cafeteria with me – and who, coincidentally was forced to wait to eat because of the quesadilla debacle –  as we walked to the elevator.  And low and behold, who walks past us, Chicken Lady and her buddy.  The buddy yells to my colleague, “Tell her I’m a nice guy.”  My colleague, who knows everyone, says, “Ted is actually a really nice guy.”

My response?  “Fuck Ted.”

The second “I hate people” goes to this post-Massachusetts malaise that has set in among Democrats.

Okay, it hurts to lose a seat in MA.  And it hurts worse that it was Ted Kennedy’s seat.  But I think this might have been a present.

Now, hear me out.

First, let’s clear up some misconceptions.  Yes, MA is a blue state, especially from the federal perspective.  Kennedy and Kerry had 73 years in the Senate between them.  To have Kennedy’s seat, a seat that had been Democratic since 1953 when Ted’s big brother John first won the seat, hurts.  Bad.  I mean, I almost fought two women, a man, and two kids in the cafeteria over a quesadilla.  I feel you.

[Sidebar:  When I went to Kerry’s wikipedia page, this is what I found:

“John Kerry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

John Kerry is a child molestor from Zimbabwe, Africa. That’s all that’s special about him.”

I then almost choked from laughter.]

But here’s the thing.  MA elects Republicans.  Did everyone just conveniently forget about Mitt Romney? Trust me, I’d like to forget that guy too.  But he was  a two term governor of MA.  And Scott Brown is not a total whack-job tea-bagger, his nude-y shot notwithstanding.  He’s a Massachusetts Republican.  That is a far cry from Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin.

So fine, it sucks.  But let’s put things into perspective.

Second, the MA race has some things to teach us about where the electorate is.  But right now, I’m not sure we’ve actually gleaned what we should from the outcome.  Instead, we just keep hearing people say this:

A)  I told you.  I was right.  I said we should be more conservative, and the MA voters agree.  We need to change course.

Or

B)  I told you.  I was right.  I said we should be more progressive, and the MA voters agree.  We need to change course.

I’m not sure that A or B is right.  Instead, the race says one thing loud and clear – Dems are losing the messaging war.  And we’ve lost our mojo.  Our swagger.  But with 10 months until the midterms, we have a change to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and snap the fuck out of it.  Because we have plenty of time to get some stuff done, get our messaging on track, and get back on course.  Let’s not make this a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Jesus!

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In its infinite wisdom, the Massachusetts electorate just picked this guy to be Ted Kennedy’s successor in the Senate:

I guess this shows a certain type of family values…

This result should give newfound hope to the political aspirations of porn star Stormy Daniels in Louisiana.

G-d, help us!  (Yes, that is how desperate I’m feeling.  Praying is the only thing that seems appropriate right now.)

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Glee News

As you know, I love Glee.  Like L-O-V-E Glee.  A lot.  When I learned in late November that the show would not be back until Spring 2010, I went into a slight-to-severe mourning that has not abated.  Oh, I do things to try to lift my spirits like listening to the Glee soundtracks on a loop, talking about Glee with anyone who can stand it, encouraging virgins to run-don’t-walk to the Inter-web to watch it, and contemplating buying Season 1 on DVD.  Which is available.  I know, because I saw it at Costco yesterday.  But none of this really works.  I am still sad and have very little to look forward to.

Until today.

So my colleague, a self-identified Glee-k, passed along the following info, which can be confirmed here and here (STOP IF YOU LIKE TO BE SURPRISED ABOUT EVERYTHING IN THE SHOW.  HC, I’M TALKING TO YOU):

  • Olivia Newton-John will be a guest star an upcoming episode.

Judge all you want, but I love Olivia Newton-John.  When I was a kid, this song was on the radio:

Newton-John will be singing Physical with Sue Sylvester.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this.  But as we will be waiting a lifetime for the show to start again, we will have to make due with this:

  • Idina Menzel will be a guest star on an upcoming episode.

LOVED her in Rent.  LOVED her in Wicked.  Now Idina Menzel is coming to Glee.  Is someone listening to me as I talk to the TV and say things like, “Wow, Kristin Chenoweth was amazing!  You know who they should have on as a guest?  Idina Menzel.  She is incredible, and I bet she and Lea Michele would be great together.”  HC’s response?  “Who’s Idina Menzel?”  For Christ’s sake!  He took me to see my very first performance of Rent in the Fall of 1999, where I had to tell him at intermission, “I am loving this.  No, you don’t understand.  Seriously loving this.  I can’t know if you don’t like this.  I will judge you even tho I know it’s unfair.”  He even bought  me my first Rent soundtrack, which I returned to him in a box of other things after we broke up briefly later in the Fall of 1999.  First thing I did after mailing the package?  Went to buy a replacement Rent soundtrack and listened to Take Me Or Leave Me on a loop for what seemed like days if not weeks.

Anyhoo, rumor has it that Menzel may play a relative to Lea Michele’s Rachel.  Will they be sisters?  Mother and daughter?  Most important question?  What will Idina sing?  PLEASE BE THIS!!  (Skip ahead to minute 1:30.)

But really, I ‘d take anything.

[Btw, trying to find a good live version of this song was not easy.  And this performance doesn’t really capture the emotion of the song.  Youtube, you let me down.]

  • There will be a Madonna tribute episode.

This may be blasphemous, but I don’t love Madonna.  That said, I do love some of her songs.  Tho, honestly, I’m not sure I have a favorite.  Yikes!  I may have to work on that.

  • Kristen Chenoweth will be back to reprise her role.

Let’s take a moment to remember how amazing Chenoweth’s performances on Glee have been to date.  What could surpass that?  No, seriously, I’m asking.  What could surpass that?

  • Johnathan Groff will have a guest role.

Johnathan Groff played Melchoir Gabor in Spring Awakening opposite Lea Michele.  DK and I saw this show together in the May of 2008, I think just right after Groff and Michele left the show.  Which at the time didn’t mean much, but now means A LOT.

I will not lie – Spring Awakening was, um, racy.  At intermission, I told DK that we might have to make out.  She laughed, but I was serious.  Jesus, it was a lot to take in, you know, with other people around and while in public.

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Butt-a-What?

My mother is hilarious.  I’m not sure she always intends to be so funny, but she really does crack me up.  Here one little gem from Christmas.

So my parents don’t put up a Christmas tree anymore.  Having never put up a tree myself, I can’t blame them.  But my mother hosts Christmas dinner every year – or every other year, depending on people’s moods – and she often feels pressure to have a tree or something similar.  Over the years, they downgraded from a real tree to a plastic one.  Then they moved to a mini tree.  That didn’t last long.  Then they used a snowman that my mother loved – a little blue-ish snowman on skis, holding ski sticks, as the stand-in Christmas tree.  After the ridicule she received over the snowman – and yes, there was ridicule; tho to her credit, she stuck with the snowman for at least 3 years and still brings him out every year, comments from the peanut gallery be damned – she her latest tradition: the Christmas Tree made of Christmas Cards.

Now, for me, this could never work.  I don’t send holiday cards, so I don’t receive very many of them.  My mother, on the other hand, gets easily 150 cards.  Seriously, at least.  I’m sure it’s more than that.  She gets so many cards that every year there is the game of Who Are Those People?  My mother almost always knows who the card is from and always has some story to share about the person.  ALWAYS.

So this year, my mother wanted to show me her cards, which were in the tree-shaped display in the spot where, as a child, the actual Christmas tree used to go.  She was honing in on the children-picture section of the tree, each picture eliciting incredibly positive commentary from her (“Oh, isn’t she just the cutest?”  And “Look at his little hat; I can’t stand it.”  And, “Now, are these the cutest boys you’ve ever seen!  And a personality to boot!”), or putting positive spins on things that other people (read: everyone else in the world) would be mean about (“That’s not a great picture.  She’s much cuter in person.  AND, the personality on that one… you just have to love her.”).  Then she hits one picture that sparks a story.  But, as with most stories with my mother, they can be a challenge to follow.

Mom (showing me cards and pointing out the ones with kids photos, making color commentary.  She stops and looks at me.):  What’s her name?

Me:  Who?

Mom:  You know, butt-a-fuck.  Butt-a-fuck.

Me:  Um, wait.  What?

Mom:  Who’s that woman?  The one with the husband.  Butt-a-fuck.  Butt-a-fuck.

Me (concerned my mother has developed torrets):  I have no idea what you’re saying.

Mom (getting annoyed):  You know the woman.  There was a girlfriend.  She was all over the news.  What’s her name?

Me:  Um, Tiger Wood’s wife?  Elan or something?

Mom:  No, no.  Not her.  Butt-a-fuck.  Butt-a-fuck.  That woman, who was shot in the face.

Me:  What?

Mom:  What’s her name?  It’s butt-a-fuck.  Something butt-a-fuck…

Me (now realizing what she’s talking about):  Buttafuoco?  Mary Joe Buttafuoco?

Mom:  Yeah, yeah.  That’s what it is.  Buttafuoco!  What did I say?

Me:  Not that.

Mom:  Pity what happened to that woman.

Me:  Did you get a card from Mary Joe Buttafuoco?!

Mom:  No, no.  I don’t know her.  But I know someone who knows her doctor.  The one who gave her a new face.

Me:  She got a new face?

Mom:  Oh, yeah.  She was shot in the face, you know.  Terrible what happened to her.  That girl who shot her?  She was sick.  But I feel bad for her too.

Me (knowing we’ve hit a major detour):  You know her doctor?

Mom:  No, I know someone who knows the doctor who gave her a new face.

Me (not knowing where this is going):  Oh.

Mom:  Jane is taking her daughter to see him.

Me (still not knowing where this is going or who Jane is):  Does Jane’s daughter need a new face?  That kid looks like she has a face.

Mom:  Oh, but she can’t smile.  So sad.  She’s the sweetest little girl.  But she can’t smile.  So – this is so amazing.  The Butt-a-fuck-o doctor is going to fix her face.

Me:  Wow.  That’s nice.

Mom:  Isn’t it tho?  And he said he’d do it for no cost.

Me:  That’s amazing.

Mom:  I know.  He didn’t have to do that.  It really makes you think that there are good people in the world.  Even doctors.

Well, now I know where my view of doctors comes from.

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And here I thought that 2010 would bring about good news.   Not so, apparently, if you are a woman who lives with a partner and gets pregnant.  At least I know who to blame, i.e. anyone but me.

But this leaves me with a question.  Are women who have a baby and live with a partner getting fatter because we feel more relaxed and secure in our worlds so we care less about the scale and more about indulging?  Or are we just eating our feelings of loneliness, isolation, loss of independence, loss of friendships, loss of self?  Just curious.

NYTimes.com
January 5, 2010

Study Says Women With Mate Get Heavier

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR

It is widely known that women tend to gain weight after giving birth, but now a large study has found evidence that even among childless women, those who live with a mate put on more pounds than those who live without one.

The differences, the scientists found, were stark.

After adjusting for other variables, the 10-year weight gain for an average 140-pound woman was 20 pounds if she had a baby and a partner, 15 if she had a partner but no baby, and only 11 pounds if she was childless with no partner. The number of women with a baby but no partner was too small to draw statistically significant conclusions.

There is no reason to believe that having a partner causes metabolic changes, so the weight gain among childless women with partners was almost surely caused by altered behavior. Moreover, there was a steady weight gain among all women over the 10 years of the study.

This does not explain the still larger weight gain in women who became pregnant. The lead author, Annette J. Dobson, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Queensland in Australia, suggested that physiological changes might be at work.

“Women’s bodies may adjust to the increased weight associated with having a baby,” Dr. Dobson said. “There may be a metabolic adjustment that goes on when women are pregnant that is hard to reverse. This would be more consistent with our findings than any other explanation.”

The study covered more than 6,000 Australian women over a 10-year period ending in 2006.

At the start, the women ranged in age from 18 to 23. Each woman periodically completed a survey with more than 300 questions about weight and height, age, level of education, physical activity, smoking status, alcohol consumption, medications used and a wide range of other health and health care issues.

By the end of the study, published in the January issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, more than half the women had college degrees, about three-quarters had partners and half had had at least one baby. Almost all of the weight gain happened with the first baby; subsequent births had little effect.

Also by the end of the study period, there were fewer smokers and risky drinkers than at the beginning, more women who exercised less and a larger proportion without paid employment.

But even after adjusting for all of these factors and more, the differences in weight gain among women with and without babies, and among women with and without partners, remained.

Despite the study’s limitations — weight was self-reported, for example, and the sample size diminished over time because people dropped out — other experts found the results valuable.

“It’s interesting and brings out some important points,” said Maureen A. Murtaugh, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Utah who has published widely on weight gain in women. Perhaps, she suggested, a more active social life may help explain why women with partners gain more weight.

“Think of going to a restaurant,” Dr. Murtaugh said. “They serve a 6-foot man the same amount as they serve me, even though I’m 5 feet 5 inches and 60 pounds lighter.”

The study included only women, but the researchers cited one earlier study that showed an increase in obesity among men who had children, adding further evidence that social and behavioral factors are part of the explanation.

Dr. Dobson said the finding of weight gain among all the women, with families or without, was troubling.

“This is a general health concern,” she said. “Getting married or moving in with a partner and having a baby are events that trigger even further weight gain.

“From a prevention point of view, one can look at these as particular times when women need to be especially careful.”

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